The Senate is out today, but the House still has plenty it wants to do to us.
On The Floor
The culture wars overtook the bill that’s supposed to prepare us for real wars yesterday, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 — and we can expect more of the same today. They start at 9 and are expected to be done around 10:15. Patricia Zengerle at Reuters has a pithy writeup.
The NDAA is generally a bipartisan bill, though that has faltered in recent years. The NDAA that came to the floor in the House started out as bipartisan, but when Speaker McCarthy let his right-wing members go back to the Rules Committee to pass a new rule and add more amendments, earlier this week, that pretty much went by the wayside.
A joint statement that Democratic leaders shortly before midnight sums up their feelings:
Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark and Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar released the following statement:
“Extreme MAGA Republicans have chosen to hijack the historically bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act to continue attacking reproductive freedom and jamming their right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people.
House Republicans have turned what should be a meaningful investment in our men and women in uniform into an extreme and reckless legislative joyride. The bill undermines a woman’s freedom to seek abortion care, targets the rights of LGBTQ+ servicemembers and bans books that should otherwise be available to military families.
House Democrats will always put people over politics to protect our national security. We will vote no on final passage of this bill.”
Here is an excellent floor tracker of the latest amendments.
The Senate’s version of the NDAA probably will have none of these poison pill amendments, so the next fight over all this will have to come when the two chambers go to conference. Whether or not the House GOP moves to add all their favorite culture war and abortion restrictions were more performative statements or things they will go to the mat for will come out in that process, and then the votes to pass the compromise.
At The Mics
9 - House Freedom Caucus on the NDAA. House Studio A.
10- Democratic Leader Jeffries weekly news conference. House Studio A.
In The Hearing Rooms
9 and 10 - The Appropriations Committee moves two more of the major spending bills, first, CJS -- the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Bill, and then the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill, generally known as Labor-H.
These are big bills that warrant close attention that I don't have time to devote, but if you are interested in the flash-point items, you can find a lot of them simply by scrolling to the end, and looking for the funding restrictions on things like carrying out the president's reproductive health executive order, or implementing ESG proposals, etc. There are plenty of the same sorts of things that got added to the NDAA.
9:15 - The Judiciary Committee has "Fixing FISA, Part II," with conservative lawyer John Turley, Phil Kiko, of Williams & Jensen and former chief of staff and general counsel to the House Judiciary Committee; and Gene Schaerr, a lawyer at the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability. Here, we will find some genuine bipartisan concern about government surveillance, but you'll have to listen to some Republican recapping of the FISA failures in the FBI's flawed attempts to investigate exactly how involved Russia was with the Trump campaign.
9 - Financial Services has "How Mandates Like ESG Distort Markets and Drive Up Costs for Insurance and Housing." This one has plenty of partisanship that stems from the debates over how we deal with climate and injustice in this country, with a lot of attention here on climate. For an idea of the split that will be seen, one GOP witness, Jerry Theodou, of the R Street Institute, says in his prepared testimony, "Government mandates impacting the insurance industry destabilize insurance markets, leading to limited choice for consumers and businesses, and create higher costs." The counter to that point of view is Democratic witness, Caroline Nagy, of Americans for Financial Reform. Her testimony points out the destabilization and eliminated choices caused by failure to address the climate crisis. She notes that 15 Florida property insurers have become insolvent since 2020, and just in 2022 alone, 400,000 Floridians lost access to property insurance. She also has numbers for other disaster-stricken states.
The arguments of two industry witnesses boil down to, these things cost too much, and consumers pay. Here's the statement of Bill Boor, of the Manufactured Housing Institute. Here's testimony by Alicia Huey, for the National Association of Home Builders.